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svgfahmesvgJanuary 5, 2023svgGames

Working in the game industry: The grass is greener on that side

It didn’t require a second dance to fall in love with games. It was blind, but not limited to only one. I encountered Hercules, House of The Dead, Virtual Cop2, Commandos, Road rash, and DXBall2 on PC and spent hours on Space Impact on a Nokia device. As I grew up and kept answering the question “What do you want to do when you grow up?” To be honest, my answers .. varied. When I was too little, I think I wanted to be a pilot. Then maybe, a cricket player? But out of his concern towards his son’s career, my father did remind his son once in a while that only 11 people among 150 million get to play for his country. I wanted to be a scientist eventually. That was a serious thought, as far as I can remember it. As soon as I got more of video games in the family friends’ houses, I discovered that there was more to these things than meets the eye. I found out that whenever I used to play these, weird thoughts would pop into my mind. The games were great, but they could do something more- I thought. I wanted to be the agent of change and creation. I wanted to make games.

The next chapters of the story haven’t really been smooth. But we’ll have time for those some other day. Let’s do a time jump and land in the present where I already have an eight year old career in the game industry. Is it the same as I dreamed? Am I living the dream? What about the other thousands of veterans in the industry? Do they get to experience euphoria? Or some things are better kept in the realm of Morpheus?

How does it feel to touch a dream? For me, it was something extraordinary as it began. I loved the initial team we had and we vibed all together. The small acts like dividing responsibilities, trying to get a hold of them while doing these for the first time, measuring and managing expectations and efforts with teammates – might feel like a picnic. It doesn’t matter what your role is. The fact that you are doing it in the game industry is enough. You would have been doing it for a different sector all the same but wouldn’t get the jubilation you’d get from here. Motivation is crucial. It impacts your output as well. In short, it does begin with a fairy tale prologue.
Well, most of the time.

Sometimes access to the industry isn’t as straightforward as you thought it would be. It is, indeed, a competitive industry. So you can easily face immense hurdles to start a career here. If you face and overcome these, then it gets all the better. You get a sense of accomplishment through hurdles, to begin with. The taste of victory always feels better if earned through it.

What happens after a fairy tale prologue? Does it remain a happy story? That’s up to you to define, really. As you are signing up for a career in the game industry, you must acknowledge the fact that there are too many potential disasters here. One can easily lose track and fall down. It’s important to have the grit to try and find your way back again. Setbacks are regular things in the game industry. If you study these things before you fix your mindset about coming in here, all the better. Then you follow the path. Go as far as you can. You should set your own limits and define boundaries yourself. Some people become billionaires while millions applaud their creations, whereas some go broke. It’s all part of the industry. You can’t expect fairy tale successes to exist without heartbreaking failures. They co-exist.

The conclusions are even more neutral. You can set your terminal conditions. But what matters is the journey. To me, as long as I am happy in this journey, I will be on it. That’s probably my terminal condition. Working in the game industry is a super rewarding experience as long as you do it for the passion. Reading about it and watching cool youtube videos about the game industry can’t really spoil the fun. You can never know fully how it feels unless you experience these things first-hand. So yeah, in the case of satisfaction, the grass is definitely greener on our side. It’s not a game of light and shadow that makes the others merely perceive it. I am having the time of my life as I keep working in the game industry. The feeling hasn’t changed a bit since the last 8 years through thick and thin. There were dark days, lots of them, but we had the belief that the sun shall rise again at dawn, and reinforcements shall arrive as long as you look to the East. However, keeping mental satisfaction aside, in terms of actual output and results, I guess we all know about the risks. As long as you are good at risk management, you should be safe.
Well, most of the time.

But that’s the topic for another day!

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